Since winning The Apprentice back in 2014, Mark Wright has gone on to launch five companies and employs over 60 people. No longer motivated by money, he’s now focused on building a business legacy that transforms the lives of others and is launching an exciting business event for entrepreneurs called CLIMBCON. Mark Wright kindly stepped aside from his busy schedule to talk to us about his experience on The Apprentice, what it’s like working alongside Lord Sugar, what to expect from CLIMBCON, and must-dos for new entrepreneurs.

Hi Mark, thanks for your time I know you’re a busy man. How are things with you?
No problem at all. Things are great thank you – always busy, but I certainly wouldn’t want it any other way. 

I noticed your CLIMBCON event advertised on LinkedIn, and it looks incredible, congratulations! I’m sure the turnout will be mega. What made you decide to launch a business summit like this? 
Thank you!

I am extremely passionate about business and entrepreneurship and dedicate a lot of my time to helping others build and develop their own businesses. In launching CLIMBCON, I wanted to create a business event that actually delivered practical information to both aspiring and established Entrepreneurs. Over the years, I have attended so many Business Expos where this just doesn’t exist, and even though some of the talks can be insightful, they lack in delivering the ‘How’. Through CLIMBCON delegates will be able to learn how to scale and grow a successful and profitable business, taking guidance and advice from some of the UK’s top CEOs and Business Leaders. 

You’ll be speaking at the event alongside Lyndsay Morgan, Piers Morgan and the main man Lord Sugar. What kind of insights can people expect at the event? 
Delegates will be able to learn so much. Where Lord Sugar will cover a range of topics from behind the scenes of The Apprentice to his top lessons in building a business empire, Piers Morgan will provide insight into building a successful, personal brand. Other core topics include Lead Generation, Sales and Marketing, Company Culture and Scaling to 7 and 8 figures.

CLIMCON is going to set the precedent for Business Conferences and I literally cannot wait. 

You’ve known Lord Sugar now for some years having won the Apprentice Season 10 back in 2014. What is it like working with the billionaire mogul? 
It’s incredible. I have always said this, but if I had a choice in the £250,000 prize money or mentorship with Lord Sugar, I would have chosen the latter every single time. He has so much knowledge and experience when it comes to business, that every time I meet with him, I learn something new. 

How did winning The Apprentice change your life? 
Winning The Apprentice literally put steroids in my business. On the first day we opened the doors at Climb Online we had thousands of leads from people who had heard of the business name or had watched the final of the show and needed digital marketing.

This level of PR and brand awareness just isn’t replicable under normal circumstances of launching and growing a business. 

I always say that if I didn’t win The Apprentice I would still be as successful; it would just take me a lot longer to reach where I am today. 

I remember watching you on the show. You’re definitely a very likeable standout character. What was the key, in your opinion, to your victory? 
Thank you. To this day, I would still say that The Apprentice is the most grueling and challenge process I have experienced. To win or at least be in the running to win, you need to be mentally strong and focus on nothing but the end goal.

Lord Sugar is only going to choose someone who has a viable business plan and demonstrates their capability to perform well under pressure. I had this in my mind throughout the entire process and remained focused at all times. 

Is business booming for you now? How many staff do you have? 
Business is great, but it certainly doesn’t come without its daily challenges. I believe that the key to being successful is learning to love these challenges and taking them on board as part of the journey. So many Business Leaders are fixed on a certain goal or end point that they forget that the actual fun part is the hard work.

I now have five companies, including Climb Online, and directly employ over 60 people. Without these people, this level of growth and success simply wouldn’t have been possible, and I am eternally grateful for their continued commitment. 

What are your future visions for you and your business? 
Great question. To me, a successful Entrepreneur is one that disrupts and innovates, and this is genuinely what, I believe, I have created in all of my businesses. Moving forwards, I will continue to grow and develop all of my companies, whilst fulfilling my ambitions in property development.

My ultimate goal, however, is to be recognised as one of the globe’s most successful business tycoons, who positively impacts the lives of others. I genuinely don’t feel I will stop or feel a sense of complacency until I reach this point, as this, to me, is true legacy.

What are the biggest mistakes you see small businesses make? 
I would say a lot of Small Business Owners spend a lot of time working in their business instead of on it, which means they are unable to take a step back and implement a strategy that will really drives scale and growth. Coupled with this is the fear of risk – whether that’s the risk of committing to a marketing or business development spend or the risk of employing new staff members. Both of these things are crippling to growth and will prevent it in the short and long-term. 

What motivates you? 
I will be completely honest in that money used to motivate me, but when you reach a certain point, money no longer comes into it. For me, it’s that idea of building a business legacy that truly changes and transforms the lives of others. Take Climb Online as an example – not only have we helped our staff members accelerate in their careers, but we help other business owners grow, develop and scale their brands through our digital marketing services.

This sense of legacy extends to the people we will help at CLIMBCON to those I mentor individually. You have the potential to make such a positive difference through business and this is what truly motivates me. 

A lot of students reading this will be the next generation of entrepreneurs.  If you could give them one piece of advice what would it be?
Just start. So many people wait for a right or perfect time to start a business. However, there never will be one and there will always be a host of excuses as to why you shouldn’t do it. You will make mistakes, but this is how you learn, develop and grow. If you have an idea and want to create your own company, just dive in. We only regret the things we don’t do.

To book tickets for CLIMBCON go to:

Interview by Ben Farrin